Fantasia -Music Evolved- Original Soundtrack
Fantasia -Music Evolved- Original Soundtrack
Sumthing Else Music Works
October 21, 2014
Buy at Sumthing
Fantasia: Music Evolved is Harmonix’s latest music game, developed for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, making use of the Kinect’s capabilities to integrate the player into the music experience. The game allows the player to mix together different remixes of pop and classical music with their body movements and choices. The standard physical edition soundtrack only contains the classical music tracks and the original score composed primarily by Inon Zur, leaving out the licensed material and the remixes (with the remixes appearing on the digital Director’s Cut album). Despite the omissions, Zur’s magical compositions alongside classical favourites still make for an entertaining score.
Inon’s Zur’s original tracks start with the opener of the album, “Main Theme”, played by the London Symphony Orchestra. This first track is very classical in style and composition with the piano introducing the principal motif of the score, a short six note figure that goes through a number of variations throughout the soundtrack. As the track goes on, Zur avoids schmaltz and predictable lines, opting instead for a dynamic track that goes through a variety of interesting harmonies, changes of mood, and several shifts of instrumental focus. A great opening track that carries the listener through mysteries and wonders, and expertly embodies the magic of Fantasia.
The other original tracks of the score are mostly in the same style and often carry the same unpredictability, always evolving and shifting. These tracks are handled well by the London Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of London. Most are short cues that help connect the score’s different elements and bring out some of the different motifs in different contexts. “Meeting the Master” carries a royal air that is cinematic and majestic, while “Introducing the Hat” is a bright and playful piece with plenty of charm and energy. “Scout’s Theme” is also playful with a hint of madness. “Making an Impression/A Malignant Force” beings lightly, but then descends into a dark and creepy realm with plenty of tension. Near the end, the main motif is triumphantly restated on the piano in “Theme of Fantasia: Music Evolved”, and then gets a final sendoff in the romantic “Finale”. Although the score only makes use of a few short motifs, Zur makes full use of them in their seemingly endless variations and moods.
The stage background tracks are a bit of an interesting departure, taking on other instrumental elements in addition to the orchestral ones. “The Shoal” is a pleasant laid back beach track with some wavy electric guitar, light shakers and watery textures from the orchestra. One of the most interesting tracks, “The Hollow” begins with a calm and peaceful pulse that very slowly adds on hints of something dark, becomes a gritty low-key rock track, and then finishes off how it started albeit more sombre. “The Nation” brings in the exotic sounds of a tropical area, that (somewhat suddenly) turns into an epic orchestra-choir-rock track, while “The Press” carries quirky industrial noises as percussion in contrast to the playful melodic lines and accompaniment of the orchestra. “The Capsule” takes things to the stars with a spacious, atmospheric accompaniment, occasional blips, and light band backing. Each of these tracks are fairly evocative with their imagery, and have some twists and turns to keep the listener on their toes.
With roots in Disney’s Fantasia, it is natural that the game and score contains some of the iconic classical music used in the original film. Tracks like Mussorgsky’s dark epic “Night on Bald Mountain” and Irwin Kostal’s orchestral arrangement of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” are on the soundtrack, albeit rather truncated. A few other (also largely shortened) classical favourites also make the soundtrack, such as a segment of Dvorak’s dazzling “Symphony No.9” and Vivaldi’s furious “Winter I”. The playing is suitably dynamic, and the strings in particular have a bit of edge. They aren’t substitutes for the full works, but they are great as what they are, and bring a nice touch of drama to the soundtrack.
Fantasia: Music Evolved is an enjoyable soundtrack, with great compositions that mesh well with the classics. Inon Zur provides a playful main theme with plenty of variations and complex harmonies, alongside stimulating stage themes with plenty of contrast and dynamics throughout. The classical pieces are played well, and though they naturally cannot compare to complete renditions which are not found on this album, they nevertheless add to the magic and drama. It’s a shame that the interesting remixes are not present, and given that the physical edition of the album is the same price as the digital Director’s Cut but lacks the remixes and any sort of special packaging, it’s hard to recommend the standard OST over the Director’s Cut. The content is still enjoyable and well worth its price in quality, but know that a more fantastic package is just around the corner.
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Posted on December 5, 2014 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on December 26, 2014.